Check out the new 2016 Shop Your Values pilot project in Minnesota.
It is vital to local economies throughout the country that this holiday season, and throughout the year, we make an effort to patron the local shops, restaurants, and service providers that create local jobs and invest in their community. The Main Street Alliance works to lift up the voices of small business owners on important policy issues, many of which benefit the communities they serve. This year, give back to the local business owners that do so much for their communities. Shop Main Street. Shop your values.
The following small businesses are spotlighted for supporting the work of the Main Street Alliance and our partners on multiple campaigns and the work we do would not be possible without them. To view the full list of businesses who have publicly supported one or more of our issue campaigns click the directory link below the spotlights.
"I didn't serve three years as an Army paratrooper, including a tour in the jungles of Vietnam at the height of the war, so that profitable corporations could duck out on their responsibilities to our nation."
Charles McKinney, owner of Trinity Laundry in Eatonville.
"80% of my customers are women. When women aren't paid equally for equal work my business is put at a competitive disadvantage. Closing the wage gap is good for my business and my community."
Vanessa Cidral, owner of Organica Furniture in College Park.
"Our mothers, sisters, and daughters deserve full and fair opportunities to succeed, and that begins with making sure every woman in Florida can get the quality, affordable health care she needs to live a healthy and prosperous life."
Ronda Wallace, owner of Butterfly Tax Pro in Orlando.
"Opponents of the Affordable Care Act, like the ones leading the charge in this court case, don’t know what it’s like to run a small business and depend on valuable tax credits to keep their families healthy."
Orlando Vazquez, owner of Phaze One Skate Shop in Tallahassee.
"Wage theft takes many shapes and forms and isn't as obvious as other types of theft. If someone steals your purse and gets caught, they will be arrested. The same rules should apply for employers who steal their employees' wages."
Megan Baker, artist and co-owner of Orange Blossom Jamboree in Brooksville.
"We have to get out of the business of using trade deals to export jobs and import cheap, made-in-a-sweatshop products and into the business of investing in infrastructure and people."
Andrew Lytle, owner of Receptor Sound and Lighting in Davie.
"First and foremost, we're interested in finding the applicant with the best resume and experience. So "banning the box"― i.e., removing the criminal conviction question from job applications ― is a no-brainer for us."
Anthony James, owner of Kustom Sounds Studios in Longwood.
"As a small business owner and manager, I support the Paycheck Fairness Act, because it's in line with my values. I believe people should be paid according to the job they're doing and the value that they bring to a company ― nothing less."
ReShonda Young, owner of Popcorn Heaven in Waterloo.
"Comprehensive immigration reform is a critical issue to the small-business community across the nation and especially here in Illinois. For us, immigrants and immigration reform are not only important from the workforce perspective but from the perspective of building a strong customer base in our local economies. The road map to citizenship is critical here."
David Borris, owner of Hel's Kitchen Catering in Northbrook.
“On $7.50 an hour, a single mom cannot support her family, and she cannot afford child care. A dad cannot afford a car to get to work. In the height of Northern Girl’s season, when we’re working to process 8,000 pounds of vegetables in a weekend, these realities hurt business. We must pay above the minimum wage."
Chris Hallweaver, owner of Northern Girl in Van Buren.
“When I pay my employees more, they spend more money at local businesses. Those local businesses then use our printing services which directly benefits our employees and us. All boats rise together."
Elena Metzger, owner of Northeast Reprographics in Bangor.
"Raising the minimum wage is a family issue, and a fairness one. I'm a business owner who cares about my community. I want to make sure my friends, family, and neighbors can work full-time and have a chance to get ahead and maybe someday start a business like I was able to do."
Jonathan Fulford, owner of Artisan Builders in Monroe.
"I care about my employees and I wish I could pay them more, but I have to compete with big box stores that pay poverty wages. A minimum wage increase would make a level playing field for small business owners like me."
Sierra Dietz, owner of The Grasshopper Shop in Rockland.
"If a business needs to pay a starvation wage then there is something wrong with their business model. Fair wages should be built into an expense sheet just paying your rent and your vendors is."
John Costin, owner of Veneer Services Unlimited in Kennebunk.
Minnesota's business community includes countless business owners that want to make sure their employees and customers can take care of themselves and their families; and support a common sense, practical approach to Earned Sick & Safe Time as a new baseline standard in Minneapolis, St.Paul, Duluth, and across the state.
They believe that establishing a modest floor for earned sick time as a basic workplace standard is not only the right thing to do but is a win- win for themselves and their staff members.
The Main Street Alliance and the member businesses support an ordinance in Minneapolis that includes the Workplace Regulations Partnership Group Recommendations.
We have prepared the following resources to help you support local, independent businesses that have chosen the high-road and that do right by their employees and work to improve the lives of working families in cities and towns across Minnesota.
"We have paid sick days for our employees. I have found that when you treat employees well, they treat you well. Because our relationship is based on mutual respect, my staff does not fake sick."
Abdirahman Kahir, owner of Afro Deli in Minneapolis
"My staff at StevenBe is integral to my business and important to my customers. I could not be successful without them. When they are ill I want them to stay home and recover without worrying about how it will impact their paycheck. It's crucial that I create and environment that promotes creativity and rewards loyalty. Paid sick time is one way StevenBe can invest in that relationship"
Steven Berg, owner of StevenBe in Minneapolis
"I remember the stress I endured while working in the service industry as a single mother attending school at the same time. I felt threatened with the loss of my job or the fear of not paying my bills if I were to call in sick. Now, as a business owner I support Earned Sick and Safe Time because a safe and healthy employee is good for all of us."
Tammy Ortegon, owner of ColorWheel Gallery in Minneapolis
"Offering paid sick time is a workplace practice that acknowledges and makes room for managing the sometimes unpredictable needs of other human beings. Paid sick time also helps create protection for employees whose managers may lack the skills, training, authority, or empathy to have created an environment where illness or emergency can be managed more collaboratively, and having a clear paid sick time policy provides people managers with a consistent starting point for initiating absenteeism-related conversations with employees in circumstances where such discussion is warranted."
Julie Kearns, owner of Junket: Tossed and Found in Minneapolis.
"At first glance I was concerned about the impact of paid sick days on small businesses, but when I looked at the potential dollars I realized the cost is pretty minimal. And the upside is that the community as a whole benefits because families -- especially single parents -- benefit by being able to work and keep their jobs. And, overall, there's an economic benefit to people having more money to spend."
"I have a lot of tools in my shop, but earned sick days has been one of my favorites."
Tony Sandkamp, owner of Sandkamp Woodworks in Jersey City.
"Access to broadband is essential for communities to flourish economically. It should be a right for everybody."
Samia Bahsoun, owner of Capwave Technologies in Asbury Park.
"The Secure Choice Act would allow small business owners to offer a flexible, portable, and professionally managed retirement plan to all of our employees. This can be done for the small administrative task of making a modification to our payroll paperwork. When the bill becomes law I will be the first one to sign up, and I will encourage my employees to do the same."
Anita Thomas, Executive Director of the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company in Union.
"For me, the Secure Choice Act is a dream come true. There is no financial responsibility or liability for employers like me or the state of New Jersey and there is no cost to taxpayers. There is no need for me to research or manage a plan. By the simple act of adding a payroll deduction to my payroll paperwork, I would be able to offer a workplace retirement savings plan to my employees."
Molly Sumner, owner of Kindred Companions in Frenchtown.
"Ensuring employees have earned sick days is the smart thing to do for my business, because it means my employees are more productive and committed. Earned sick days are a good policy for working families, small businesses, and Elizabeth.
Erick Cedano, owner of Fast Photo Plus in Elizabeth.
"Without a system and insurance plan in place, small businesses like mine could not hope to cover an employee’s time and workload on our own. This paid leave program will allow us to give our employees the peace of mind of knowing that when and if the time comes that they need to take time for a family medical or caretaker crisis, they can."
Amy Collins, owner of New Shelves Books in Pittsford.
"I know what it’s like to work hard and not earn a fair wage. That’s why I decided to start my own business and treat my employees right."
Yocary Espinal, owner of Secret Beauty, Bushwick, Brooklyn
"I fight for all issues that affect my community.”
Esmeralda Valencia, owner of Esmeralda's Restaurant, Bushwick, Brooklyn
“Everyone needs dignified salaries in order to be able to cover their expenses.”
Claudia Lopez, Churro & Sweet Nut Street Vendor, Junction Blvd. & Roosevelt Ave., Corona, Queens
“We are part of the hard working class community, and we are all in the same fight.”
Sebastian Romero, Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Street Vendor, Junction Blvd. & Roosevelt Ave., Corona, Queens
"Work is just an extension of family. I believe it's important to support all moms. I will do my very best to accommodate all moms and dads who try to do it all."
Kim Meacham, owner of The Paper Daisy in Columbus.
"As an activist in the 70s we fought for equal pay, thirty years later we are still not paid equally which is a profound insult to women."
Marcia Evans, owner of Marcia Evans Gallery in Columbus.
"We need a statewide anti-discrimination policy that allows women to feel safe and protected in the workplace and remain on the job as long as possible. Keeping women on the job during pregnancy is not only essential for most families, but it is good for our economy and businesses like mine that cater to women."
Kenya Gibbs, owner of Raw Materials Salon in Columbus.
"My business, as with any small business, grows when customers have the money to spend at my shop. When patrons in my community are able to buy high-end paper goods and custom design services, my business thrives."
Deborah Field, co-owner of Paper Jam Press in Portland.
"Our principle business asset, next to our customers, is our employees. I believe, and experience has borne me out, that if you take care of your employees they will take care of you. We have provided good benefits, including earned sick days, and have for 33 years."
Jim Houser, co-owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland.
"Instead of a race to the bottom on wages, job security, and workplace safety, let's build a middle class that can afford the products we make here in America."
Mark Kellenbeck, co-owner of BrainJoy in Medford.
"The cost associated with going above and beyond for new and expecting parents in returned in full with the hard work and dedication of our staff members. We owe the growth of our company to the commitment of our employees, one we have fostered with our strong commitment to them."
Sabrina Parsons, owner of Palo Alto Software in Eugene.
"By raising the minimum wage, we increase the amount of funds injected into the local economy. This allows others to spend more money in their local shops; shops like mine. A rise in the minimum wage benefits my businesses, as much as it does my employees. It creates customers with more money to spend."
Mike Nagle, owner of Upper Cut Barber Shop in the Dalles.
"Holding corporations accountable to pay their fair share and closing the loopholes they use to dodge their tax responsibility will help our communities by restoring our infrastructure and funding the education programs that fuel our businesses growth."
Maurice Rahming and Ali O'Neil, owners of O'Neil Electric in Portland.
"By raising the minimum wage, we increase the amount of funds injected into the local economy. This allows others to spend more money in their local shops; shops like mine. A rise in the minimum wage benefits my businesses, as much as it does my employees. It creates customers with more money to spend. Labor is a business owners most valuable resource. Employees who feel valued are more productive, stay longer, and present superior customer service. Treating employees well creates a thriving business, raising the minimum wage is the best way to show employees they are appreciated."
Jerud Moyer, owner of Gold Rush Coffee in Portland
"I know that our employees would benefit from a higher wage, but so will businesses. When everyone can afford to take care of their health, afford transportation, housing, and other necessities and still have a little bit left over for a slice of pie at our cafe, our entire community thrives."
Peter Emerson, owner of Bi-Partisan Cafe in Portland
"Raising the minimum wage benefits the entire community. Parents not having to work two and three jobs to make ends meet means they can spend more time and be present for their children. People spending more locally, including at small businesses like mine, allows us to grow, expand and provide more jobs."
Marci Pelletier, owner of Shwop in Portland.
"We would recommend all small businesses support raising the minimum wage; it’s a positive thing. Let's do it! It's worked other places, and it will work here."
Stephanie McGilvra and Ryan Simon, co-owners of Sublimity Snow & Skate in Beaverton
“Eugene’s paid sick days policy will benefit everyone. It will boost the local economy and help small businesses succeed. It’s simple economics: we sell more sweets when working families have more money in their pockets to take their kids out for a treat. Now, Eugeneans won’t have to choose between taking care of their families and missing a day of work."
Catherine & Cheryl Reinhart, co-owners of Sweet Life Patisserie in Eugene.
"When it comes to the people that help to make Strictly Organic what it is, our goal is to attract and retain the best--after all, great employees are critical to a successful business. Giving access to earned paid sick days is just one way that we invest in our employees and decrease turnover--not to mention that in the service industry paid sick days are a public health issue as well."
Rhonda Ealy, owner of Strictly Organic Coffee in Bend.
"The vast majority of workers with no access to paid sick days are those working closely with the public, handling food, or caring for our loved ones—this poses a very serious risk of spreading illness. Furthermore, it’s a healthy equity issue. All workers—no matter where they work—should be able to care for themselves and their dependent family members when routine illness strikes—and still pay their bills."
Dr. Mark Gabriel, owner of The Wellness Center in Portland.
“We know our employees are a valuable asset to our business and deserve more than the current minimum wage. Corporations need to start paying more too, and support our communities”
Lucy Park, owner of Growlers Hawthorne in Portland.
"A big part of sustainability is making sure that workers are treated well too - that they can afford time off when they need it, and that they are able to stay in their jobs when they're sick, and that they can take care of their kids when they're sick too. We realized very soon after hiring employees that when they were sick, they needed to be paid when they stayed home – and we encouraged them to stay home both for their sake and for the sake of our customers and us."
Steve Hanrahan, Co-Owner, Mirador Community Store, Portland, OR
"In order to grow, we need more customers, not tax cuts or fewer regulations. We all know that when our friends and neighbors have more money in their pockets to spend, they spend it locally."
- Catherine Matthias, co-owner of Stewart Jones Designs in Joseph.
"Workers who earn the least, spend more of their pay in their local communities—in businesses like mine, and others in the Hollywood District in NE Portland. When our customers have more money in their pockets, it means there’s more money to keep circulating through our economy, rather that going to line the pockets of big business shareholders."
"My community supports me, and I want to make sure to support them in return. I want to grow, and hire staff, but I want to do it right. I want to pay good wages and provide basic benefits like paid sick days, but in order for me to do that, my competitors, like the big chain restaurants, need to also."
Gloria Vargas, owner of Gloria’s Secret Cafe in Beaverton.
"I think it's important to support legislation that protects and encourages small businesses because I know firsthand and through others how impactful small businesses can be in the community, and on individual’s lives. I'm not a politician, and most of the time my thoughts are on the day-to-day of running my two businesses, but I know that our world and city are better off with a range of businesses supporting us- not just the big guys.”
Rita Hudson, owner of Union Rose in Portland.
"Offering earned leave to our employees was one of the best business decisions we have ever made. Our employee turnover is relatively non-existent and our hiring and training line in the budget is $0. We attribute this to the stability we offer our employees, which, in large part, comes from the fact that our employees can count on a full paycheck each and every week of the year without having to worry about losing wages if they or their children get sick."
Jennifer and John Kimmich, co-owners of the Alchemist Brewery in Waterbury.
"We support paid sick leave because we support the health and well-being of our employees. Paid sick leave should be a right for every worker."
Bonnie and Bill Duncan, owners of Apple Tree Natural Food Market in Morrisville.
"I definitely support the healthy workplaces bill. Having happy workers is always good for business."
Dan Webb, owner of Gear Traders in Woodstock.
"I support the Healthy Workplaces bill."
Reed Prescott, owner of Prescott Galleries in Bristol.
"I support the Healthy Workplaces bill."
Jen Roberts, owner of the Daily Chocolate in Vergennes.
"You don’t manage to stay in business as long as we have by serving great bread and baked goods alone. It takes a great group of employees and smart business decisions. Keeping those employees on board with common sense, supportive policies like earned paid sick time is one of those smart business decisions.
Randy George and Eliza Cain, owners of Red Hen Baking Company in Middlesex
"What I've learned is that taking care of my employees and paying a living wage is absolutely the right thing to do, and it's also good business strategy. Investing in my employees will yield significant rewards for my workers, community, and my business' bottom line."
Molly Moon Neitzel, owner of Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream in Seattle.
"The economy is built from the bottom up, not the top down. Every job should be an economy-boosting job."
Makini Howell, owner of Plum Restaurants in Seattle.
“As a small business owner, I know we need to keep moving forward on health care. We won’t go back, and we won’t let the benefits of the new law be taken away from us. The health care law is good for small businesses and good for our communities – it’s good for America.”
Don Orange, owner of Hoesly ECO Auto & Tire in Vancouver.